Leonardo da Vinci created the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and engineering....
Six close friends shaped the role their country would play in the dangerous years following World War II....
When Henry Kissinger was made secretary of state in 1973, he had already become the most admired person in the US and one of the most unlikely celebrities to capture the world’s imagination....
Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet....
Based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos....
Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings....
The dramatic, pulse-pounding story of Harry Truman's first four months in office, when this unlikely president had to take on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and the atomic bomb....
Best-selling writer and biographer Walter Isaacson deconstructs the late Apple CEO’s business brilliance....
Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant....
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history....
A revealing new portrait of Robert F. Kennedy that gets closer to the man than any book before, by best-selling author Chris Matthews....
A razor-sharp thinker offers a new understanding of our post-truth world and explains the American instinct to believe in make-believe, from the Pilgrims to P. T. Barnum to Disneyland....
The best historians in the land consider examples of great leadership, well known and surprising, from Washington to Willkie and more....
From the author of the best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive biography of Steve Jobs....
Ray Dalio, one of the world's most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he's developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years....
The long-awaited memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters....
For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history....
From Donna Brazile, former DNC chair and legendary political operative, an explosive and revealing new look at the 2016 election....
In this collection of essays, Walter Isaacson reflects on the lessons to be learned from Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and various other interesting characters he has chronicled as a biographer and journalist.
The people he writes about have an awesome intelligence, in most cases, but that is not the secret of their success. They had qualities that were even more rare, such as imagination and true curiosity.
Isaacson reflects on how he became a writer, the lessons he learned from various people he met, and the challenges he sees for journalism in the digital age.
He also offers loving tributes to his hometown of New Orleans, which both before and after Hurricane Katrina offered many of the ingredients for a creative culture, and to the Louisiana novelist Walker Percy, who was an early mentor. In an anecdotal and personal way, Isaacson describes the joys of the "so-called writing life" and the way that tales about the lives of fascinating people can enlighten our own lives.
After enjoying each of Isaacson's Einstein, Jobs and Franklin biographies, I decided to get this audiobook. I was concerned there would be a lot of repeat material, but there is not much really.
This is an enjoyable book. It is told as a story, you don't feel like you are listening to chapters of discrete information. The stories are interesting, relevant and educational.
The last third of the book includes a random interview with Woody Allen about his affair with his stepdaughter and then a section on the future of publishing. Both chapters feel out of place completely, I have no idea why the author or the published would include them here. But, since the first two thirds were excellent, I will give them this one chance.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The narrator, Cotter Smith, keeps you engaged throughout the entire book. He could make the iTunes user agreement sound interesting.
I am a big fan of Walter Isaacson and this book is a great way to dive into more of his writing and learn about many subjects in a short amount of time per subject. Each individual explored in the book is approx. 45 minutes and very interesting.
I will be recommending this book to friends.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book would be more honestly titled "Walter Isaacson's political opinions about everything". There are sketches in the book but only as context for Walter to opine about current events and how he would have done things had he been king of the world. You won't be surprised to learn that he thinks George Bush is really evil and Obama might be the Messiah. Maybe that is the intended slant for sales purposes. Well read, however.
14 of 21 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
It was doomed from the start.
What was most disappointing about Walter Isaacson’s story?
Title was very misleading.
What aspect of Cotter Smith’s performance would you have changed?
The material he had to read.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Too few to mention.
Any additional comments?
Enjoyed the Jobs bio, but Sketches was a waste.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful
Isaacson takes the reader on a journey through American history, masterfully weaving his own perspective on historical and contemporary issues. While some of the tales were repetitions of his prior books, the new commentary carried insights that Isaacson was reluctant to share in previous works. Somewhat serendipitously, readers may find clarity and understanding in some of today's more contentious political and social quandaries, making the work that much more impactful.
But it makes you realize how insignificant you are.
You can get through this book. I did.
It caused me to have tons of emotional reactions. Such a great read
What did you love best about American Sketches?
Short reviews of many interesting people.
What did you like best about this story?
He weaves the stories in coherent way.
Any additional comments?
It is a compilation of Isaacson writings in TIME Magazine. He does a good job linking them and is honest about the source of the stories. You end the book learning few things about many people.
I was all ready to give this book five stars. Discussions about the author's choice individuals who influenced history in the 20th century: I learned a lot about Albert Einstein, for example. That's the reason that I got the book in the first place.
However....during the last 20% of the book; the author, a journalist, reverted to his favorite causes. One was how customers should pay for the content in the changing news business--a self licking ice cream cone; in my opinion. I thought that irrelevant to the book's theme. Do that again, Walter Isaacson, and you've lost at least one reader.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful
I open the book listen to 2 paragraphs and the voices were so distracting that I am mediately closed out of the book and listened no further
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
I wonder what he would have to say about Obama's presidency. Undoubtedly a liberal, would he have the honesty to expose B.O.'s Racist non-transparent regime?
1 of 5 people found this review helpful